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Regarding Arthroscopy

Robert W. Ike, Kenneth C. Kalunian

Abstract: Background/Objective Rheumatologists' interest in arthroscopy began before the 1980s, when many era practitioners began to take up the procedure in earnest. Some of the important players in pre–World War II explorations of arthroscopy were rheumatologists, and the father of modern arthroscopy Makei Watanabe counted many rheumatologists among his postwar students, who were publishing about arthroscopic insights into rheumatic conditions in the 1960s and 1970s. We chose to review this evolution to demonstrate the diverging interests of rheumatologists and orthopedists in arthroscopy and emphasize the chances for reconciliation and cooperation. Methods involve our personal recollection and review of the literature. Results Guidelines for the practice of arthroscopy were published by the American Rheumatism Association (now the American College of Rheumatology) 7 years before similar guidelines appeared from the Arthroscopy Association of North America. American rheumatologists ceased arthroscopy when controlled trials showed no effect in osteoarthritis beyond placebo and biologics for synovitis virtually eliminated situations in which synovectomy might be considered. The research potential of arthroscopy has been realized mainly by European rheumatologists, although the ultrasound-guided biopsy is supplanting arthroscopy as means to secure synovium for investigation, despite the advantages of the latter, such as the ability to obtain larger amounts of tissue, select tissue based on macroscopic appearance, sample multiple area in the same joint, and deliver the potentially therapeutic effect of washout. New miniscopes suitable for office use could restore some of the lagging interest in arthroscopy for investigation. Orthopedists have generally been resistant to rheumatologists doing arthroscopy but would not be sharing any turf with rheumatologists using the miniscope. Conclusions We hope that we orthopedists and rheumatologists could be friends as we enter this new phase of arthroscopy as we use the technique for different purposes.
Keywords: arthroscopy / osteoarthritis / synovitis / synovium / turf battle

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